On June 8 and 9, 1862, Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson won the two key victories in his Shenandoah Valley campaign: Cross Keys on June 8 and Port Republic on June 9. Using speed and mobility, he defeated larger Union forces, keeping them from being sent to aid Gen. George McClellan at Richmond; kept the Upper and Middle Shenandoah Valley under Confederate control and freed his own troops to go to the aid of the army defending Richmond.
With forces under Gen. Nathaniel Banks temporarily out of the picture, Jackson took on and defeated a superior force commanded by Gen. John C. Fremont on June 8. He then left a holding force in front of Fremont and sent reinforcements east to the Luray Road to oppose the division of Gen. James Shields coming back to the valley from Gen. Irwin McDowell’s command near Fredericksburg.
The result was a fierce battle that was the costliest of Jackson’s Valley Campaign, but the victory left him in a position to aid the forces defending Richmond.
Mount Vernon Democratic Banner readers got the news on June 17, when the banner published a report from Gen. John C. Fremont on the outcome of fighting early on June 8, and a report of the “Times” dated June 10. It’s not clear whether that was the New York Times or another paper.
The Banner summarized the situation in its “War News of the Week” column by saying: “Gen. Fremont had a pretty severe battle in the valley of the Shenandoah last week, the result of which appears not to have been very decisive to either side. The rebels under Jackson are undoubtedly strong, and why the forces of Fremont and Banks have not been united before this is somewhat mysterious. — On the 10th, Fremont’s army again formed and advanced in line of battle, but no enemy was found as far as Port Republic.